Laughs at own jokes

by Robert Pagan

Many comedies particularly romantic comedies have been frequent in the theaters in the past ten years or so. There have been all sorts of plots often very similar to each other. With this proliferation of comedies especially romantic, the lack of originality is obvious. It can be hard to standout and seem less predictable as a comedy. Promoted does a few interesting things to spice up the formula, but it is not without its own pitfalls.

A story of two best friends Alex (Cody Longo) and Jacob (Samm Levine) who practically have their promotion in the books at the advertising firm. However, newcomer Marissa (Justine Wachsberger) steps in to steal the spotlight. She does everything she can, following no moral code, to win the promotion for herself. Several other memorable characters fill out the cast, each with a unique personality that creates the ensuing chaos.

It is these characters that help to separate Promoted from other comedies. Each character has a whacky and crazy personality that makes it hard not to laugh. They include a horny lesbian receptionist, a mentally challenged custodian, a wild Chinese boss, Jacob’s demented grandmother and sexually perverted grandfather, and a gay gangster rapper. The most laughs come from them rather than the main protagonists. The performances of Alex, Jacob, and Marissa are not incredibly memorable. They more serve to further the story along as narrative devices.

Directed by
Isaac Constein
Samm Levine, Cody Longo, Justine Wachsberger
Release Date
25 August 2015
Robert’s Grade: B

The writing is also where Promoted distances itself from the pack. The whacky supportive characters say anything that is outrageous and offensive. They do not overuse profanity as many R-rated comedies have done in recent years. Instead, vulgarity and taboo subjects are used for comedic effect. Everything from racial slurs and stereotypes to transsexual hookers and prison rape are utilized for comedic means in the film. The outrageousness of the situation keeps you guessing on where the film will goes next.

Unlike other comedies that take their selves seriously as a comedy, Promoted makes fun of itself. Where other films neglect the inconsistencies and suspension of disbelief that plague comedies, Promoted addresses them. It is very self-referential in that way. The questions viewers have been wondering and puzzled about the entire film are asked openly by characters. For instance, many of the insane cast of characters seems to be in every scene even when it makes no sense for them to be there. One of the characters blatantly asks why they are there in the scene. Even the ending itself makes fun of Hollywood comedies in its own way.

With all that being said, the film is not without its own flaws. The film being less than two hours speeds the pace up, and that can be seen as detrimental with no real gradual exposition that establishes the characters. We are thrown right into the thick of things, not unlike an action film. This doesn’t leave much time to get attached to the characters. This may work for some but not for other viewers. Also where the film could easily end it continues to drag on. Unlike some of the plot holes the characters self-referentially address others are completely neglected. The way we finally learn of Marissa’s endgame and why she wants the promotion so badly, leaves much to be desired. Similarly to the beginning, the ending is abrupt and feels forced.

Despite these few drawbacks, what the film has more than entertains. The alterations to the typical formula of comedies are refreshing in a landscape littered with almost identical ones. The strange cast of characters’ spontaneity focuses on risqué subject matter instead of profanity is a nice change of pace. The film does not take itself too seriously and that is one advantage it has over the rest of the field. If the film did not make light of itself it would not have worked as well as it did.